Ramadan Kareem: Miswak sales surge in Kashmir; dentists call it `valuable oral hygiene tool’

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Srinagar: Come Ramadan, Miswak sales surge in Kashmir.

What has added a new dimension this year is dentists recommending Miswak over toothpaste and plastic bristled brushes.

Medical experts emphasize Miswak’s multifaceted benefits, including its antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Its ability to combat plaque and dental caries makes it a valuable oral hygiene tool.

Speaking with The Kashmir Monitor, Specialist Orthodontist Dr. Nasir Ul Sadiq recommended Miswak over toothbrushes, citing its organic composition and absence of harmful microplastics. He recommended Miswak for children and diabetic patients, cautioning against excessive fluoride consumption and artificial sugars present in conventional toothpaste.

 “Children are given the same toothpaste that adults use, without knowing how much fluoride a child should consume. Excessive use of fluoride can result in fluorisis, which is harmful to them. Rarely does someone give children a specific toothpaste to use,” he said.

He also suggested people learn the technique of using Miswak before using it. “I have seen numerous examples where patients’ gingiva have been scarred as a result of wrong use of Miswak. It should be massaged carefully on the teeth so that it may remove the plaque on them,” he said.

Dr. Nasir said that cases of patients complain of toothaches during Ramadan because they don’t maintain proper dental hygiene. “I strongly advise patients to use Miswak in Ramadan. I understand that individuals are scared that their fast will break when cleaning their teeth, but they can choose the alternative(Miswak) because there is no gain in harming oneself,” he said.

Dr. Umar Baba, dentist at Al Shifa Dental Clinic, Srinagar told The Kashmir Monitor that people should use Miswak not only in Ramadan but also in the long run as it has many benefits including tooth whitening properties. “Miswak is biocompatible. I have seen many patients who are allergic to toothpastes and I recommend them to use Miswak instead,” he said.

Dr. Umar said that Miswak increases salivary gland secretion and is suggested for usage throughout Ramadan, especially for individuals who suffer from dry mouth, as it prevents your throat from drying up.

“It raises the pH in our mouth, which kills cavity-causing germs. Also, trim the tip of the Miswak after every usage because bacteria might persist on it which can result in adverse consequences,” he said.

Miswak is a traditional chewing stick prepared from the roots, twigs, and stem of Salvadora persica and has been used as a natural method for tooth cleaning in many parts of the world. It has been a staple of oral hygiene in Islamic culture for centuries. Its use predates modern toothbrushes and toothpaste, yet its relevance remains undiminished, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. 

In Islamic tradition, using Miswak is a celebrated Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). As believers fast from dawn till dusk, Miswak serves as more than just a tool for dental care; it symbolizes the purification of the body and soul.

Haji Yaseen Khan, President of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers, said Miswak sales have surged during Ramadan.

“During Ramadan, the sale of Miswak in Kashmir division increases significantly. It has cultural and religious significance,” he said.